For many years there have been over 15 programs with different approaches to sustainable development in the wine sector. Although there are differences in how they process indicators, they have worked to achieve the same objective. All these programs were designed with a holistic vision of sustainability – i.e. the triple bottom line, but their emphasis has been almost exclusively on environmental aspects and goals:
- GHG emissions – both direct (including from the use of energy) and indirect – related to the process and/or product
- Water Consumption; direct and indirect water pollution
- Biodiversity Maintenance and Protection of Biodiversity in the ecosystem
In 2016 a new entity and a stakeholder movement, EQUALITAS was launched in with the aim of uniting the Italian wine business into a homogenous and shared vision of sustainability. and is the is the result of a five year commitment by UIV to Tergeo. While most of the 15 separate initiatives make up the new entity, the controlling decision-making power rests with Unione Italiana Vini (UIV), the trade union for wine producers, and Federdoc (the national confederation that protects and promotes the Italian Appellations and Dominations of Origin –AOC, DOC ad DOCG).
Equalitas will promote good practices in the following areas:
- agricultural practices such as soil handling, irrigation, biodiversity, no weeding between rows, etc.
- manufacturing practices related to cellar and bottling, and packaging
- social practices, including workers rights, training, employee satisfaction surveys; and community surveys of neighbors every 3 years
- economic practices, such as economic incentives for achieving environmental and social improvements, and
- communication practices, including establishing rules to ensure true and transparent communications ; social responsibility and environmental reporting to all stakeholders and self-designation as a “Sustainable Company.”
Equalitas will certify companies (and groups of companies), wines and territories (i.e. regions). The certification is valid for 3 years. There are major ( M) requisites, which must be complied with 100% at the start of the certification validity; minor (m) requisites that demand 30% compliance with within the 3 years of the certification validity, and recommended (R) requisites that must be fulfilled at 10% compliance, also within the 3 years of the certification validity. There are also additional indicators for biodiversity, carbon footprint, water footprint that should be adopted within 3 years of certification validity.